Thursday of Trinity – Acts 2:14a, 22-36 

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them:

 22“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25For David says concerning him,

    “‘I saw the Lord always before me,
   for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
   my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One see corruption.
28You have made known to me the paths of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

 29“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

    “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
 35until I make your enemies your footstool.’

 36Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

My parishioner sat up in the bed. It was the first time in several days that he could do that. I was visiting him in the hospital. We had just gotten started when the physician came in. I always ask if I should leave at that point. My parishioner asked me to stay. The doctor, a seasoned fellow with a little gray around his temples looked my parishioner in the eye and spoke frankly to him. He had been admitted to the hospital suffering from ailments brought on by some less-than-healthy lifestyle choices he was making, including the consumption of too much alcohol.

The physician told him that he needed to make some changes. He needed to cut back on the alcohol, get some exercise, lose some weight, tend to his diabetes, or he was going to die, soon. There was no sugar-coating on his words. He used no euphemisms for death. There was none of this language about “passing away” or “coming to the end of life.” This was brutal. “You’ll be dead by Christmas if you don’t get a handle on this.”

Never having been the object of such a conversation from my own physician, I was a little taken aback by the blunt honesty of the doctor, but I was also grateful. We had long been worried about this man. I was glad to see someone else was concerned as well.

Peter speaks with such bluntness in today’s reading. He says that God attested to Jesus’ identity, you missed it, and you killed him, but God raised him back to life. Look at that last verse. That is blunt, tough preaching. But it had to be. It was a matter of life and death for them to hear those words. It remains a matter of life and death for us as well. The world would have us soften the words, put some euphemisms in there. Have you been to a funeral lately and noticed that funeral directors do their best to shield everyone from the reality that the person is dead? God, through these words of Peter, speaks bluntly to us as well. Hear both sides of the message. We have a problem. God has raised the solution to life. When Peter finished this sermon, it says that the people were cut to the heart and asked what they should do. Peter urged them to belief and baptism, and they would receive the gift of the Spirit. 3,000 people heard him and did so that day. 

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